With just twenty races a season, Formula One still needs to find its place in between sporting giants such as the English Premier League or the NBA and the NFL in the United States.
“In terms of digital offering, we have made great efforts. But you can’t compare sports. It’s no use talking about the Premier League in England or the NFL and NBA in the US.
“Formula One is just twenty events and three to eight hours over the week-end. That’s just about what the English Premier League has every week-end”, explains Ian Holmes, head of media rights at Formula One Management.
The problem for the media, however, is finding stories to maintain the excitement in between races, as Sky Sport’s Ian Turner admitted.
“What’s important to us is engagement and relevance. I’m head of Sky Sports when it comes to F1. But I don’t produce the actual race, I produce the show before and after that”, he says.
“But for that, we need access. On the Monday, on the Tuesday… We need to find stories for what comes after the races. That’s what we’re looking for. What we create around the event is almost as important as the race itself. It brings people in. I’d really like to see less practise and more race.”
The teams involved are obviously willing to participate in “creating a great product” and “adding more content”, says Monisha Kaltenborn of Sauber.
“Formula One can improve. It has so much to do. All the teams are all very different participants, we are all different brands promoting different things”, she explains. “We can and will create more if you involve us. A lot more can be shown, not just the event”
But “you have to be innovative to attract and keep people interested”, warns Al Tareq Al Ameri, CEO of the Yas Marina Circuit, which hosts the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix.